Austrian dissidents escalate conflict, challenge hierarchy
November 07, 2011
Dissident Catholics in Austria have announced their intention to conduct liturgical ceremonies in which lay people act as priests, preaching and simulating the celebration of Mass.
“Church law bans this,” acknowledged Hans Peter Hurka, the leader of the We Are Church movement. [This lot likes to reduce doctrine to “laws” or “policies”.] His group issued a challenging manifesto just before the Austrian bishops gathered for their annual meeting.
The lay-led ceremonies would violate not only canonical rules but also fundamental theological principles, ignoring central doctrinal teachings about the nature of the Eucharist and of Holy Orders. Nevertheless Hurka made the claim that his group’s stance is in accordance with the teachings of Vatican II. [I can hardly wait for the photos. Will they have puppets?]
The Austrian hierarchy already faces a challenge from the Priests’ Initiative, another radical group that has called for defiance of Church law. The nation’s leading prelate, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, has warned repeatedly that the dissident priests are creating a danger of “serious conflict” within the Church. However the cardinal has declined to take disciplinary action, saying that he is “counting on dialogue and cooperation.”
Quae enim seminaverit homo, haec et metet.